The man who healed Susan’s broken heart


Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon

They had two sons in their twenties, Jack and Miles, and Susan's daughter Eva, 28, from a previous relationship, regarded Tim as her dad. The family was rich, successful and blissfully happy. Tim and Susan, both Oscar-winners, were planning to appear on the Broadway stage together.

Then out of the blue, Tim Robbins, 54, dropped a bombshell which shattered one of Hollywood's most enduring partnership. He wanted out. His explanation — that he was going through a midlife crisis and "insanity" — hardly made things any better. I didn't think it would ever happen, Susan remembers. "But it did. At times like this you need your girlfriends. You need to take long walks until you're exhausted — and you need to hold on until a new dawn."

To help, Susan had A.N.D.A.N.D - "a new dawn, a new day" tattooed on her wrist. "It's a reminder that if you can hang on until the dawn you have a chance to forgive and be forgiven and start anew. You move on."

But moving on at 62 was a pretty scary business. "When I started having more freedom and going out more after Tim left, my kids were more than a little concerned," Susan says. One said: 'I'm not sure who you are any more', and I said: 'I'm the person I was until you came along...'

That person had a pretty eventful life. At university she met actor Chris Sarandon whom she married when she was 21. A year later her husband auditioned for a movie and Susan went along as support. Chris didn't get a part but Susan did.

Her career blossomed with roles in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Atlantic City, for which she got an Oscar nomination. But as her career thrived, her marriage didn't and they separated in 1978. It was a shock. "I thought love conquered everything," she said. "I found out that it didn't." When she fell in love after several affairs, including one with French movie director Louis Malle, she decided that if they didn't marry they wouldn't be in danger of taking each other for granted.

And for over two decades the formula worked. And when, at 45, Susan found she was again pregnant it just increased her happiness even more.

"It was perfect for me because I wasn't really interested in my career at that stage — I thought raising children was a lot more interesting — and so did Tim. When I did work, I took the kids with me. I got it down to a fine art. I found a list the other day of all the things I needed to take on location — what kind of nappies to get and to make sure there was no glass around..."

But now she was a single woman again at 62 and making movies seemed the logical thing to do to plug some of the gaps in her life.

"It was fun getting back into the swing of things and going out. That wasn't easy. When you've been one of a pair for so long it's not an easy transition. But when love came, it was from a surprising direction. New York entrepreneur Jonathan Bricklin was looking for a business partner for his nightclub SPIN which contains 17 table-tennis tables and started a global craze. 

At 36, Jonathan is three decades younger than Susan but she didn't give a jot about those "toyboy" jibes. The pair have been together three years but have no intention of getting married. Or that's what Susan says.

I believe in marriage for other people, says the still glamorous Thelma and Louise star. "If it works for you that's fabulous but I've always thought it would make a relationship less spontaneous. I can't see the circumstances in which I would marry," she says but rumours grow that the couple are thinking about it and Susan's children are all for it.

Recently the couple were spotted looking at engagement rings on a trip to Amsterdam and a friend confided: "It looks as though things are getting more serious.

"They are certainly progressing — until recently Susan was actually denying that they were an item — which seemed absurd as they were constantly together."

Now she does admit that she's got a boyfriend "But I'm very superstitious about discussing these things."

But the hurt of her break-up with Tim Robbins does seem to be lessening, according to insiders. The couple stood hand in hand at the recent wedding of daughter Eva. 

We're all coming out of it in pretty good shape, Susan says. "I think we've got through it."

And with her new love at her side, it looks as though Susan Sarandon's new dawn and new day has finally arrived.

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